Canvey Island is located in the Thames estuary where it is separated from the mainland of south Essex by a network of creeks. Lying below sea level it is prone to flooding at exceptional tides, and in 1953 a flood swamped the island causing the deaths of 58 residents. This song was written by British Sea Power singer Yan after he became fascinated by a radio documentary about the disaster.
Carla Thomas became the first woman to achieve a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself when "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" reached the chart's top tier in 1961. Thomas was just 16-years-old when she penned it.